SA-based ISP, Internode, claims the Federal Government’s voluntary filter will not happen any time soon.
On July 10, Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, announced Telstra, Optus and iPrimus had agreed to place their customers on a voluntary child abuse URL-based Internet filter. This was an interim plan until the full filter plan is put into action next year after a review of refused classification (RC) by the Standing Committee of Attorney-Generals (SCAG).
Internode carrier affairs manager, John Lindsay, dismissed the participation of the three big telcos in the child abuse filter as little more than a show of support for Labor. He doubts the interim filter will actually be put in place any time soon.
“It’s not like there is a list ready to go and it’s not like there’s network infrastructure ready to go,” he said. “We’re talking about two of the largest telecommunication companies here [Telstra and Optus] in Australia.
“It is going to take them years to implement what they have committed to here and this is something that has been stitched up in order to attempt to kill a toxic issue in the election campaign.”
What is more unsettling is the Government has managed to get two large corporations make election grade promises, Lindsay said.
“These are promises that you have no idea how you are going to keep them and really don’t care whether you do or don’t,” he said.
Internode has looked at a number of carrier grade equipment vendors capable of putting in a variety of blacklist-based filtering techniques but has estimated it would cost “millions” to implement.
“I don’t think it will be implemented; it is a classic election promise,” Lindsay said.
The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Ecomony (DBCDE) has yet to nut out the URLs to be on the blacklist.
“It hasn’t worked out what format it will be in, how it will be encrypted or encoded or whether ISPs will be able to see the actual URLs,” Lindsay said. “It’s so light on detail I have no idea what Internode will have to do in order to be a volunteer.
“I could play the political game and hold my hand up and say we’re volunteering but I’d have no idea what I’m promising and I don’t think the people at Telstra or Optus who have made these promises have any idea either.”